Movie Review: Power Rangers

Growing up, I had two toy boxes. One for my regular toys, the other dedicated entirely to “Power Rangers.” It was a show about five teenagers who gain superpowers and dinosaur robots to stop the evil Rita. The show was an American remake of the Japanese show “Super Sentai,” using footage from said show for the monsters fights spliced in with shots with Americain footage. The show was a massive hit in the early 90s, becoming a cultural phenomenon for a few years. The show was stupid and has aged like milk, but there was a self awareness to it’s stupidity. I was the perfect age to watch “Power Rangers” when it was out, so it became a huge part of my childhood.  When I heard the big budget reboot was in the works my excitement was mixed in with a lot of caution. It turns out that the caution was needed because this movie is garbage.

When reviewing a movie I typically avoid spoilers, not talking about things that happen past the 20 minute mark unless it’s in a trailer, but I’m gonna break this rule because this is a big one. In this “Power Rangers” movie, about the Power Rangers, the Power Rangers don’t show up until past the 100 minute mark. The characters appear and they get their powers halfway through, but they don’t actually put on the Power Ranger suits until 100 minutes into this two hour movie. There is one fight scene and it’s the final battle. 

This movie has a serious tone problem. It’s unsure if it’s wants a more grounded take or too embrace the show’s inherent silliness. Most of the stuff with the main cast is on the grounded side, but whenever the film jumps to villian Rita, played here by Elizabeth Banks, the film is much more campy and silly. It creates mood whiplash jumping between the two plots. This is never more apparent than during the only battle. The rangers jump into there zoids, the score is playing then the Power Rangers theme cuts in for 20 seconds, only then to have “Power” cut in. 

The plot structure is a mess. It feels like a first act padded into two hours. Most of the movie is sent building up the Power Rangers as opposed to having the Power Rangers do things. Mainly focusing on the home lives of the rangers, which is fine in theory but everything feels underdeveloped. The yellow ranger is upset with her parents, but it’s never explained other than “they don’t get me.” The black ranger has a sick mother, but it doesn’t have any days off. It’s an hour until the rangers get their powers and we still know next to nothing about them. The film then wastes time with repetitivetraining scenes that neither develop the plot or characters.  

The casting of Bryan Cranston as Zordan, the wise leader, is a neat touch. The famous actor actually did voiceover work on the original series, voicing some of the monsters. 

The designs are not very good. The power suits designs are too busy. The film tries to give the suits an alien organic tech look but it doesn’t work.  Rita’s minions are now these genetic looking rock monsters. 

The original “Power Rangers” was silly, but was unforgettable. A rapping pumpkin is stupid, but you’re not gonna forget it anytime soon. And this movie is forgettable. That’s the one thing a “Power Rangers” movie shouldn’t be.